Reflections During a Pandemic

When I first started writing this blog, a “behind-the-scenes look” at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City, I envisioned a forum for sharing our successes, challenges, opportunities and mission stories — a way to help our friends and supporters stay connected to the amazing work of our charity.

Never did I imagine that I would be writing a blog post entitled “Reflections During a Pandemic.” But here we are.

First, I will offer my personal perspective. My family and I are dealing with challenges that may mirror your own. My son is a high school senior, so we’re all experiencing very real grief about the loss of countless senior year experiences, including graduation. And I know that all of us are living with disappointment right now: postponed or cancelled weddings, funerals, job opportunities and more.

And of course, some among us are fighting COVID-19 on the front lines, as heroic health care workers, or those who are living with and fighting the virus itself. I know our hearts go out to all of them.

I also feel, personally and professionally, a great deal of responsibility for our RMHC-KC guest families, our staff, and our charity’s ability to continue delivering our mission—both during these times and into the future. The events unfolding around us are unprecedented, and I am trying to bring my very best self and skills to lead our organization through this time.

Second, I will share an organizational update. The Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Children’s Mercy has temporarily closed to guest families, and that space is being used to provide respite and support for health care workers and staff. Our three Ronald McDonald Houses are still open and serving families. Guest families who are currently staying in our Houses are being served by essential RMHC-KC staff, with support from the rest of our team who are working remotely. At this time we are not checking additional families into the Houses, but RMHC-KC is still accepting referrals and serving families, keeping them close to their sick children through partnerships with Airbnb and local hotels.

Finally, I will offer a different lens through which we might view this crisis: you know that feeling we all have right now? That the very world has shifted under our feet? Things we once counted on (simple things, and big things) are no longer true. We’re not sure how this will affect us financially, short-term and long-term. We feel anxious and scared — and are working hard to find joy, gratitude, and comfort in everyday moments. Both connection to others and support from others is more important than ever. We wish we knew when this would end — and we wish we had some assurance that it will all be okay for the ones we love.

That’s how our families at Ronald McDonald House feel all the time.

When your precious son or daughter has been diagnosed with cancer, or needs a heart transplant, or is born at 29 weeks … the trapdoor under your feet has opened, and your world will never be the same.

So as we all cope with — and overcome — the challenges in our lives that are unfolding each day, let us remember the families with sick kids that we are serving at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City. And let us all remember that we will get through this, together.